I don't really write much about my writing here. I'm not sure if it's the whole "writing process" is that interesting to anyone but I thought it might be nice to start doing something like a quarterly update on how things are going.
I finished my last work contract in January this year with enough savings to support myself for a while. I had plans to travel Europe in the middle of the year and figured if I could make enough money to support myself on a daily basis, I'd be able to write full time and using my savings for travel.
Just to break things done, I wrote a romance series under a pen name and that has earned me about 96% of my writing income this year. I released the first book in the series in November 2013, the second in March and the final book in July. I've not released anything under my own name this year.
My benchmark for earning a survival living is what you'd get on the dole here in Australia, which is about $300 a week. In the first quarter of the year I was earning nothing near that amount but have well exceeded it in the final quarter.
During the year, there have been two events that have caused a huge jump in my earnings - the first was releasing the final book in the series and offering book one free as a loss leader to get people hooked on the series. When I did that, my earnings shot up to "more than the dole" level. The second big jump happened when I stopped selling books exclusively through Amazon and distributed to other major sales channels like Apple. While Amazon is still the big player and offers benefits if you sell exclusively with them, I've found my sales much higher elsewhere. Currently, around 85% of my income is from Apple.
I'm still not earning what I did in my day job but hey, I was an IT contractor so the benchmark is fairly high. I figure even earning 75% of that amount is good. Based on working a 7.5 hour day which is standard in Australia, if you take into account an hour commute each way + lunch break + time spent preparing for work, that 7.5 hours blows out to 11 hours a day. That in itself is worth a cut in overall pay. Plus, working from home, I don't have to deal with a stinky, noisy overcrowded commute, trying to please a boss, dealing with people or working to someone else's schedule.
I don't like putting actual sales numbers up on the Internet but I'm pretty happy with the amount of money I'm making at the moment. I feel like I'm not even scraping the potential of what I could earn. I took things pretty easy this year. I had 6 weeks holiday in Europe and 2 weeks in Japan. I didn't write all day, every day.
My plans for 2015 include:
- Finishing and releasing the historical fiction book I'm writing under my own name. This keeps getting put on the back burner in favour of projects that I know will have a better rate of return.
- Also polishing off and releasing a bunch of short stories I have on my computer. Short stories don't sell all that well but I have them written so I should do something with them. While they are varied, the uniting factor is that they are set in Japan so might be good to put in a series and tied them into the release of the abovementioned novel.
- Write 6 novels under my pen name. I managed 3 this year without pushing myself too hard and definitely think this is doable.
Another thought has been buzzing around in my head. Since I'm moving in with my mum for three months or so, instead of moving back to Melbourne after that, I might set off travelling. I can write anywhere and I have no geographic dependence. So long as I have my laptop and an Internet connection, I can work anywhere. Of course, that is reliant on maintaining or increasing my writing income.
Overall, I'm extremely happy about where my life is at the moment. I can see a lot of hard work in the year ahead, because writing is damn hard, but I have a fantastic lifestyle now on my own terms. I can work in my pyjamas, take a 'playing with Gemma-dog' break in the middle of the day, travel the world and have people actually read my books.
Has anyone been to Slovenia? Apparently I sell a lot of books there and it looks awfully pretty.